Double-blind fluoxetine in depressed alcoholic smokers

Jack R. Cornelius, Ihsan M. Salloum, Joan G. Ehler, Patricia J. Jarrett, Marie D. Cornelius, Ann Black, James M. Perel, Michael E. Thase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Treatment trials involving smoking in alcoholics with major depression are scarce, despite the common co-occurrence of these disorders. In this study, 25 smokers with DSM-III-R diagnoses of both major depressive disorder and alcohol dependence were randomized to fluoxetine or placebo in a 12- week, double-blind, parallel group trial. Almost half (48%) of the patients had made a suicide attempt in the week before hospitalization (where recruitment was performed), and 84 percent reported suicidal ideations during that week. Those in the fluoxetine group demonstrated a significant within- group decrease in smoking during the course of the study, whereas those in the placebo group did not. Those in the fluoxetine group smoked 27 percent fewer cigarettes than those in the placebo group, although this difference was not statistically significant. Cumulative alcohol consumption during the 12 weeks of the pharmacotherapy trial was four times as high in the placebo group as in the fluoxetine group, though this difference was not statistically significant in this limited-sized sample. The change in smoking was significantly associated with a change in drinking. These preliminary findings suggest that fluoxetine has the potential for treating the smoking and drinking behaviors of depressed alcoholic smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-170
Number of pages6
JournalPsychopharmacology bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • alcoholism
  • fluoxetine
  • major depression
  • smoking
  • suicidality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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